Apr 14 AT 2:20 PM Taylor Wimberly 29 Comments

Verizon Motorola Devour review

motorola-devour-review

The Devour is Motorola’s second Android smartphone for Verizon and the carrier’s first to feature Motoblur. What improvements has Motorola made since they launched the Droid last year? The uninformed consumer might think the Devour is a better phone since it is newer, but they are in for a big surprise.

Build

Form factor: The Devour features a similar form factor to the Droid with a few minor tweaks. Weighing in at 5.89 oz, the Devour is one of the heaviest Android phones to date. It is also one of the bulkiest Android phones measuring 61.0 x 115.5 x 15.4 mm.

Texting fans will enjoy the four-row slide out QWERTY keyboard. Each key is now raised up, as opposed to the flat keyboard of the Droid. This provides more feedback when typing, but it results in smaller keys. I found the Devour keyboard too cramped for my taste and I actually prefer the Droid’s.

Located on the front of the phone are three capacitive touch buttons for Back, Home, and Menu. Mysteriously missing is a search button, which is heavily used on Android phones. The Devour also features a touch pad on the front of the phone which doubles as a clickable button. The remaining buttons on the side of the phone include volume control, camera, screen lock, and voice command.

The Devour charges via a micro USB port and includes a 3.5 mm jack for your favorite pair of headphones.

Styling: My favorite part about the Devour is its overall looks. The front of the phone is covered by an aluminum finish and it feels very nice in the hand. Bright blue accents around the speaker, camera, and battery door are nice additions to the black and silver colors used on the phone.

Hardware

Motorola claims the Devour features “one of the most enhanced processors of any smart phone”, but that is kind of misleading when you compare it with the current high-end Android phones. Powering the Devour is the 600 MHz Qualcomm MSM7627 processor. This CPU is based on the ARM11 family which is the same as what was used in all first generation Android phones.

More powerful phones like the Droid or Nexus One now include ARM Cortex-A8 based processors, which are the successor to the ARM11 family. In Motorola’s own words, the Cortex-A8 processors offer twice the speed of the leading competitor (ARM11).

The main benefit of the Qualcomm MSM7627 used in the Devour is its 200 MHz dedicated graphics processor. We thought this might allow the Devour to play some of the more advanced games designed for the Droid and Nexus One, but this was not the case. I tried loading Raging Thunder 2 and the framerate was unplayable. Other games designed to run on first gen phones (like Homerun Battle 3D) performed flawlessly.

On the memory side, the Devour features a 512 MB flash ROM and 256 MB of RAM. These are the same specs as found in the Droid and other recent Motorola Android phones.

The screen used in the Devour is a 3.1 inch HVGA (320 x 480 pixels) capacitive touch display. I had a better experience with the touch screen than the Motorola CLIQ, but I still had the occasional missed touch. Motorola routinely offers software updates to improve the performance of the touch screen and I expect that will be the case with the Devour.

For a complete rundown of all the tech specs, visit the official Motorola site.

Software

OS: Even though the Devour is a new Android phone, it ships with the Android 1.6 firmware that was released in the middle of last year. This is an improvement over other entry-level Motorola phones which feature Android 1.5, but we would have like to seen Android 2.1 used (like the Droid).

Motorola just released their latest timeline for Android 2.1 upgrades and the Devour is listed as “under evaluation”. This means customers could be waiting until Q3 or later before they eventually receive Android 2.1.

Bundled Apps: The Devour includes the standard Verizon apps like V-Cast Music and Videos which allow the user to download ringtones and movies for a fee. Verizon also included their VZ Navigator which we tested and found it was horrible. Thankfully users can access the built in Google Maps Navigation which provides the best GPS navigation service I have used.

The one notable bundled app is the new Motorola Phone Portal. This allows users to easily connect their phone to their PC over WiFi or USB. See the video review below for a quick overview.

As with other recent Android phones, many of the bundled apps can not be easily uninstalled. Android phones are notorious for their limited internal storage space for apps, so it is disappointing to have someone else dictate how that gets used. At least Verizon limits the number of bundled apps as opposed to AT&T which includes their full suite of bloatware.

Camera

The Devour includes a 3 megapixel camera without flash or auto focus. Taking still photos with the Devour produced average results. Because the Devour has a fixed focal length lens, users may experience issues when attempting to scan barcodes.

Sample pictures:

distance

detail

close-up

Sample video: The Devour captures video at 23 fps with 480×360 resolution.

Full Video Review

Check out our previous post for the Devour unboxing video.

Conclusion


The Devour is a nice Android phone, but I have to question the timing of its release. Verizon launched it several months after the Motorola Droid, which is a clearly superior phone. If you purchase from a Verizon Wireless store, the Devour is priced at $149 with 2 yr contract vs $199 for the Droid.

One might save a little money up front, but the vast majority of the total cost of ownership comes from the calling plan and required $29.99 data add-on. If you look around online (or visit your local Best Buy), chances are you can find the Droid at the same price or cheaper.

If you wish to purchase a Motorola Android phone on Verizon, I suggest getting the Droid.

The Droid offers the following advantages over the Devour:

  • Android 2.1 (vs Android 1.6)
  • Stock Android (vs Motoblur)
  • 3.7 inch display (vs 3.1 inch)
  • Faster TI OMAP3430 processor (vs Qualcomm MSM7627)
  • 5 megapixel camera with flash (vs 3 MP)
  • 16 GB microSD card (vs 8 GB)

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Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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